Monday, February 26, 2007

Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen

Holly is only 12 years old when she flees from a creepy and abusive foster father. Before she runs away, her teacher Ms. Leone encourages Holly to write in a journal. This book is the journal she writes during the seven months she spends hiding, running, and trying to stay alive. She hides in a truck, jumps onto a train, walks, and rides buses. She steals food or eats at soup kitchens. She sleeps outdoors, sometimes under a deck, sometimes in a cave, and finally in a cardboard box. She lives in fear of being caught and of other homeless people who threaten her. I found myself really wanting to know what happens to Holly in the end, and I think middle school readers will feel the same way. This book does not gloss over the realities of being homeless, but I’m guessing that in real life homelessness is even more nightmarish than Holly’s story conveys. If you like reading about young people with big problems, you should read Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen.

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